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Foreign Affairs Committee Passes Bass Resolution Encouraging Reunions of Divided Korean-American Families

April 21, 2021
Press Release
WASHINGTON – Today, a resolution to encourage reunions of divided Korean American families introduced by Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.), Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Global Human Rights, was passed by the House Foreign Affairs Committee. The resolution was introduced after constituents and local community organizers raised this important issue at a town hall meeting in Los Angeles before the pandemic.

“I want to thank the local organizers and families in my district who brought this incredibly important issue to my attention at a local town hall a few years ago,” said Rep. Karen Bass. “The division of the Korean Peninsula millions of families, including some who are now citizens of the United States and have not been able to see their families in more than 70 years. Reunification with family members should be a humanitarian priority of immediate concern. I am glad that we are now one step closer to make it the sense of the United States House of Representatives.”

Watch her full committee remarks here.

H. Res. 294 encourages the United States and North Korea to begin the process of reuniting Korean-American divided family members through exchanging information of divided family members in a pilot program for family reunions and finding matches for members on the divided family member registry through organizations such as the Red Cross.

"The passage of the Divided Families Reunification Act and the House Resolution encouraging reunions of Korean-American divided families in the House Foreign Affairs Committee represents one step closer to a long-delayed resolution of the separation of American families from their family members in North Korea,” Paul Lee, president of the Divided Families USA. “The bipartisan support for these legislative initiatives are a signal of continuous efforts to support our community of elderly Korean American divided families at the highest level of our government. We are hopeful that the House will pass both bills as it did last year, and that it will be able to gain the support it needs to pass the Senate and be signed into law under this administration."

“We are grateful for the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s unanimous support for the Divided Families Reunification Act, led by Rep. Meng and Rep. Taylor, as well as the House resolution to encouraging reunions of Korean-American divided families,” said Wonseok Song, executive director of the Korean American Grassroots Conference, the largest nationwide network of Korean American voters. “Today’s passage of both pieces of legislation brings closer a legislative solution to end the humanitarian crisis suffered by families torn apart by the Korean War who are ailing and aging. We thank the continued support and indelible leadership of Rep. Meng, Rep. Taylor, Rep. Bass, and Rep. Young Kim in bipartisan efforts towards a lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula, based on compassion and family values.”